The annual Top Gun Shooting Camp went off without a hitch — except for maybe some interesting shooting styles that might have had a hitch in them — at St. Cloud High School this week.
Recent Bulldog graduate Bailey Ansbaugh, for many years a Top Gun camper and now a volunteer coach after wrapping up her St. Cloud varsity playing career this past spring, is a fixture in the gym over the summer.
Instead of taking some time to prepare for the fall semester at Johnson University up the road in Kissimmee, her first in college, or just taking a summer pause to go to the beach or something, Ansbaugh will be right back in the gym next week embarking on something a little different, something probably not done in the area — until Monday.
Ansbaugh will host the Shine Bright Basketball Camp, a week-long evening clinic just for girls in third through ninth grade in the gym, beginning Monday from 5:30-8:30 each evening.
All coaches and volunteers next week will be female, so that campers have strong influences all week long to look up to who look and sound like them, she said.
“My dream for this camp is that the campers can look up to girls who used to be in their position,” she said, noting the camp’s name comes from a Bible verse in the Book of Matthew, and that she’s had it in mind since coming up with the idea for the camp about a year ago.
Ansbaugh and her helpers will teach basketball basics — shooting, ball handling, defensive techniques — but also share how to be a strong leader and teammate in a pressure-free environment where campers can make new friends.
Basically, she wants girls that age — she was one once and wishes she had those kind of influences then — to be comfortable in their own skin whether they are competing in sports or not.
“I have always wanted to do a camp just for girls, to encourage them to participate in sports no matter what the world says they should or shouldn't do,” she said. “I’ve been to a lot of camps in my life, and kids will get that ‘Be the best’ message soon enough. Sports should be fun right now. It’s a game, so enjoy it.
Ansbaugh, who plans to teach and coach in school one day and walk in the footsteps of her father, Chad Ansbaugh, and grandfather, departed longtime St. Cloud and Harmony baseball coach Mike Fields, played three sports a year throughout high school. She did so because she chose to, and she wants to pass on that passion that it’s OK to make those choices and then work hard.
“I want to be a part of encouraging girls to do what they want, and play everything you can,” she said. “They have so many voices in their ears about what they should be doing.
Camp is $75 for the week, and registrations will be accepted Monday at the door prior to camp. Money raised will go toward St. Cloud High’s female sports programs. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 407-860-6454.